Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rock it OUT!!!!

“Are you ready to ROCK?”…. Maybe NOT

MOVIE: Rock of Ages

Ahhhhh the 80’s….. The neon colors, the clothes, the HAIR…. and of course the music. The hard rock anthems, soft rock ballads and the emergence of Hip-hop. I was a child of the 80’s and loooooved Rock n’ Roll (so put another dime in the juke box baby). Pat Benetar, Journey, Queen and my all time favorite…. PRINCE were on always on my “Playlist” (before there was such a thing). Needless to say I was beyond excited to see the movie “Rock of Ages”. I mean, 80’s Rock + Tom Cruise= 1 happy lady….. Or so I thought. I came out a little disappointed.

The movie is based upon the musical of the same name and is a story of young folks (and the young and heart) chasing their dreams in Hollywood and falling in love. End of plot. Fun, fluffy and funny? Yes. Worth the time and money? Maybe once. You see, if a movie really grips me and I want to immediately go get the DVD…. THAT’s a good movie. This one… not so much. I will give my props to the acting. EVERYONE seemed to have a great time making this movie. Tom Cruise was sleazy; Julianne Hough was as light as air, and Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin….. HILARIOUS. I just can’t imagine seeing it again and again. Maybe, like the 80’s, you experience it and then move on with fond memories.

So for this one I recommend a meal of Diner Food, specifically a Cheeseburger and Fries. May I highlight Sonic (a Fast Food Chain) or Johnny Rockets. Both are a bit overpriced for burger joints BUT really good and known for nostalgic atmosphere. Johnny Rockets has a 50’s motif where Sonic celebrates the Drive In. Also at Sonic you can create your own drink. I enjoyed a Cherry Lime soda with REAL fresh Limes and Maraschino cherries. ROCK ON!!!!!

Get Cooking and Keep Watching,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dear Dad!

It's Dad’s Day!!!!

MOVIE: Five Father’s Day Faves!

Yes it’s Father’s Day and time to celebrate DAD!!!! Here are my 5 picks that lift up the courage, tenacity, the love and even the protectiveness of Fatherhood. In no particular order…..

  1. “I Am Sam”- A mentally challenged man embarks upon a journey to provide for his daughter in spite of several challenges. Sean Penn DELIVERS in his role as Sam with great support from Dakota Fanning and Michelle Pheiffer. Yes it tugs at your heart strings but it does so authentically and reminds us that it takes a village.
  2. “The Pursuit of Happyness”- A single Dad does what he has to do to take care of his son and strives for a better life in the process. Father/son team Will and Jaden Smith are fantastic and you forget that they are the superstars that they have become.
  3. “Remember the Titans”/ “Gridiron Gang”- Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!!!!! Not only do these two movies have sports action but in both of them there are compelling stories of men who are “Fathers” to boys who have not had good examples…. And hey, Denzel and Dwayne are not hard on the eyes ;0).
  4. “Man on Fire”- Denzel and Dakota…. Again. Yep! Gotta love the action sequences but there is also a tenderness between Denzel (Creasy) and Dakota (Pita) that is touching. Once again, a flawed man who steps up and touches the heart of a child (and vice versa) and has to protect her from evil.
  5. “The Last House on the Left”(2009)- What?! I thought that was a horror movie? It is!!!! However…. It asks and answers the question, How far would you go to protect your daughter? And the last scene is worth it.

Hope you enjoy and Happy Father’s Day!

Take Dad out to his restaurant of choice or better yet…. Cook his favorite dish (even if it’s simply a dessert). Find out what HE likes and honor him with it.

Get Cooking and Keep Watching,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thanks for making me STRONGER!


MOVIE: “Columbiana” (2011)

Talk about underestimated!  Not a whole lot of press or fanfare surrounding this flick or a lot or words needed, but, this movie brings the cohunes baby! With passion and great physicality Zoe Saldana is a force to be reckoned with in “Columbiana”. Her family was torn apart as a child. Well….She’s all grown up now and it’s payback time. Great action! Great heart! The question is….at the end of the day is it all worth it? Watch the movie and answer for yourself.

Set up your own Taco/Nacho night for this one. Season and brown off some Ground meat (Chicken, Beef, Turkey, or even Pork). Fry up some Corn Tortillas or grab some Chips and set up your favorite fixing’s. For me: Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cheese, Sour Cream and Cilantro..... Mmmmm Delicioso!

Get Cooking and Keep Watching,

Friday, December 30, 2011

What a Yummy Movie!

Let the Oscar race begin…….

MOVIE: “The Help” (2011)

What a cinematic experience!  An incredible cast with AMAZING performances, Spot on costumes and a plot that forces you sit down and listen….What’s not to like?
You will find that as much as I like all the action, CGI, slow motion, car chases and the like; If there is not a story at the heart of it, I’m not invested and have wasted time and money. “The Help” is NOT that kind of movie. It has story and it has heart.
I’ll start with the obvious, as an African American woman, a former Nanny, a current teacher, and a child care advocate I related to Aibileen and Minny (played impeccably by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer respectively).  Aibileen and Minny are part of a society of women that raise white family’s children in Jackson, Mississippi in the 60’s during the Civil Rights movement. They have been put in a situation where their thoughts and feelings have to be put on the back burner because not only could they lose their jobs but their lives.
Then comes Skeeter (played authentically by Emma Stone). She is a white woman from Jackson who has gone to college, to get an education not to find a husband, and comes home to find work. What she discovers is the story of the “Help” and decides that it’s a story worth telling. She doesn’t fit in with her socialite friends and fights to tell the story of these men and women and to courageously be herself. I know I could feel her pain. Thankfully, I’ve discovered that being “different” is not a curse but a true blessing.

There are several supporting roles as well played by, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Ted Welch and Chris Lowell.

I KNOW that this movie is worthy of an Oscar. I HOPE that the Academy doesn’t forget this movie at award season….I know I won’t forget it. I BELIEVE that this movie sheds light on some AMAZING women and I thank all involved for telling this story.

After this movie I had such a craving for some good ‘ol soul food. I really wanted Fried Chicken but ended up enjoying Fried Catfish at Cracker Barrel. If you have the skills and the time to really throw down in your kitchen…. GO FOR IT!!! “The Help” is a movie that that deserves a soul food celebration.

Get Cooking and Keep Watching,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trick or Treat?....TREAT!!!!

Lord help us sinners…..

MOVIE: “Se7en” (1995)

I still remember seeing this movie for the first time on the big screen. What an experience!!! What a movie!!!!
Brad Pitt plays Detective David Mills who just moved to the city and is joined with a retiring veteran, Detective Somerset, played by Morgan Freeman to show him the ropes. Well, are they in for it. They end up on the trail of a serial killer whose calling card is the seven deadly sins.
For me it’s not about solving the crime but the nuances of the performances. This is Brad Pitt’s movie folks. He gives the cockiness of a rookie, the hunger of a detective who wants to solve the crime and the vulnerability of a family man (wife played by Gwyneth Paltrow). Morgan Freeman is not to be out shined with his performance as a jaded cop who has seen too much. I also noticed Kevin Spacey as an actor in this movie for the first time. He plays the villain with just the right amount of sociopathic kookiness that you take him seriously.
Take a look at this movie and let the story unfold on you.

Diner Grub!!!!.... And hey, if you’re gonna go……

“Chili Cheese Fries”

Frozen Fries
Chili (homemade preferred)
Colby/Jack Cheese

Bake fries according to package directions and warm chili. Cover fries with chili and then with cheese. Microwave to melt cheese.
If you are not using homemade chili and are getting out of a can please doctor it up with Cumin, Garlic powder, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, and Pepper (no salt, the canned stuff has enough sodium).
Make sure that doctors are on standby for the open heart surgery and Enjoy!!!!!
(In all seriousness, this is not the way to eat too often…. Indulge at your own risk).

Get Cooking and Keep Watching,


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween.... more than just a Holiday!

How to make a remake…..

MOVIE: “Halloween” (2007)

This is a remake of the 1978 classic which starred Jamie Lee Curtis in her big screen debut. It is the sad story of the Myers family. The son Michael has some….uhhh….issues (to say the least) and takes them out on the world around him in a violently mechanical way. Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake really does a good job of delving into Michael’s world and WHY he does what he does.  Zombie does a fantastic job of sticking to the original plot of the movie, putting a little more meat on the bones of a classic, while at the same time updating it where appropriate. Is there still slicing and dicing? Yes. Is Michael Myers still a killing machine? Unstoppable. The difference? I actually came away feeling like….. If ONLY. If only he’d been given the love and attention he’d craved, if only he’d had different parents, if only someone had been able to get through to him. Oh well…. It makes for a crazy ride and a fun creep fest. It’s only a movie….. (gulp)….right?

Just right for Halloween Night (and I don’t mean Oct. 31st only)

“Homemade Pizza Sauce”


1 14oz. can diced tomatoes (San Marizano preferred)1 small onion (diced)
1 medium green pepper (diced)
2-3 cloves of Garlic
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Italian Seasoning

In a Medium sauce pan, heat 2-3  tbsp. of olive oil over Medium heat. Once pan and oil are hot, put in fresh onion and garlic and sweat until translucent. Then you can add tomatoes and Green pepper. Cook through and then either blend with an immersion blender or put into food processor (or counter blender) for blending. Season the sauce with Garlic and Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning, Salt and Pepper to taste. You can spread on Pizza dough, biscuits, or English Muffins to make pizza and top with your favorite toppings. I’d also stock up on my favorite candy treats (Jelly Beans, Sweet Tarts and Twizzlers).

Get Cooking and Keep Watching,


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Who says men don't understand women?

To me….This is the best “Chick Flick” directed by a man.

MOVIE: “Hope Floats” (1998)

It’s all about opening yourself up, taking chances and relationships. So you’ve gotta have a strong cast and fearless director. Sandra Bullock, Gena Rowlands, Harry Connick Jr., Mae Whitman and Forrest Whitaker all fit the bill here.

It opens with a surprise, not just for Birdee Pruitt (played by Sandra Bullock) but for the audience as well. Birdee has the rug pulled out from under her and ends up back in her old home town of Smithville, Texas. She is fragile and hurt, but, learns to be courageously authentic. Her vulnerability with an underlying strength is never more apparent than in the scene where she is looking for a new job and a former classmate is the door that she had to go through to get there.

Then there is Birdee’s mama, “Mona” (Ramona), played by the iconic Gena Rowlands. What a strong, encouraging character who tells it like it is. She is the wind beneath Birdee’s broken wings who has some fantastic one liners. Some of my favorites are: “Get out there! Go get the stink blown off ‘ya” or “You’re going to school today Rocky”.

To round out the females is the power house Mae Whitman. She holds her own with Sandra Bullock and Gena Rowlands as Birdee’s daughter Bernice. The scene that always gets me is where she is trying with all her little might to leave Smithville and go with her father. It hit especially close to home when I first saw the movie for the first time as I had just lost my father.

As for the males, Harry Connick Jr. quietly, powerfully plays Justin Matisse. Justin is not a “studly” man with tons of “swag”, but, a persistent man who knows what he wants and goes after it… ALL aspects of life. He helps Birdee learn to trust and love again and THAT is sexy!

There is a scene that is not to be missed in the movie when Bernice has a really rough day and her family and friends come together to cheer her up in a unique way. The scene always brings a smile to my face. It also highlights the music that Whitaker chooses to use in the movie and what passion he has for the movie as a director.

My suggestion for munchies is a little different this time. Go to your favorite diner to eat…..and go ALONE!!!! It was a liberating experience for me and as much I enjoy company while I’m eating, I found out that I have the stern stuff to go stag too. My favorite diner is Marietta Diner in Atlanta. Don’t forget to get dessert too….just to spite ‘em. 

Get Cooking and Keep Watching,